Photos by Robert Such courtesy of Pomeroy Studio
The award-winning Singapore-based sustainable design firm, Pomeroy Studio, finally completed The B House in Singapore, an operational carbon-negative home that was recently awarded with Building Construction Authority’s (BCA) Green Mark Platinum Award, the highest recognition for environment-friendly buildings in Singapore.
The house has been designed in such a way that it offsets the energy that the entire household consumes through the use of solar energy as well as efficient use of water and waste. The B House uses many design techniques that are used in Singapore’s colonial black and white bungalows but with energy efficient features. Now it is even priced at the same price point as its neighboring residential developments.
Inspired by Jason Pomeroy’s design on Asia’s first carbon-zero prototype home, the Sime Darby Idea House (2010) in Malaysia, Pomeroy applied all the learnings from that project and used the traditional black and white bungalows of Singapore with their passive design techniques and space planning principles. The black and white bungalow buildings featured generous roof overhangs, large verandahs for outdoor living and entertaining, and variable shutters that could keep the sun out but allow the air to percolate in. With the B House design, a “form-matching-climate” approach that embraces the climatic conditions of Singapore was utilized in order to reduce energy consumption and promote efficient water use. Natural airflow and daylight penetration were considered to position and orient areas of design. The designers were able to minimize heat from the East and West sun – reducing solar heat gain and maximizing cross ventilation through the prevailing wind. By strategically placing low, medium and high-level windows and shutters in the North and South façades, they were able to regulate better airflow. These can be opened and closed in multiple configurations to prevent rain, and provide shade while filtering light during the hottest or wettest seasons. At the same time, daylight penetration is optimized through shallow floor plates that permit all habitable rooms to receive 100 percent natural light.
The house is touted as one of the most sustainable detached modern homes in the region. “The owner of the B House was keen to push the boundaries of sustainable design for a private commission of two family bungalows in Bukit Timah, Singapore,” says founding principal of Pomeroy Studio Jason Pomeroy. “The home sought to ensure that the occupants would never have energy bills again, and greatly reduced water bills. The challenge therefore was to create a zero carbon house at the same cost of a bungalow comparable in scale. What started as a carbon zero project would eventually become a pioneering operational carbon negative house in Singapore,” he adds.
The passive design techniques drawn from the traditional Asian dwellings provided a low energy base from which Pomeroy Studio was able to incorporate the latest green technologies and practices, giving the house its carbon-negative credential. The 100 square meter of polycrystalline photovoltaic solar panels on the roof are expected to generate 16,720 kWh per year, hence, the B House effectively acts as power station that provides surplus energy and it can supply the grid for income generation. As for its water usage, a water-harvesting equipment is set in place forecasted to save up to 465 cubic meter of water per year. As for the construction of the house, materials used had low eco-toxicity and high recyclable content, and pre-fabricated “kit-of-parts” were manufactured off-site, improving quality and reducing wasteful off-cuts.
“The future of sustainability is not just about technology, but, like the B House, draws on the essence of culture and tradition to create built environments that are carbon-free and truly reflect their inhabitants’ way of life,” explains Pomeroy.
“We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to design this carbon negative home in Singapore. This project complements our Studio’s continued research into the field of zero-carbon development and its application to commercially orientated projects. We are proud to have been able to push the boundaries of sustainable design at the same price point as the ‘business as usual’, whilst retaining a commitment to the culture of place,” he concludes.
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